Readings for March 19/20, 2022

In today’s Gospel Jesus offers his parable about last chances. The fig tree will have one last chance to bear fruit before it is cut down and destroyed. Good stewards realize that, like the fig tree, they are endowed with God-given gifts that are meant to “bear fruit” for God and neighbor. God has legitimate expectations of them. They also realize they do not know how much time they have left before the gardener returns for an accounting of their fruitfulness. How are we using our God-given gifts? How might we use our gifts to bear more fruit? The answer requires some urgency.

Listing Our God-given Gifts Inspires an “Attitude of Gratitude”

By Rev. Joseph D. Creedon, pastor emeritus, Christ the King Parish, Providence, Rhode Island.  This excerpt is sixth in a series based on his current book.

Stewardship requires an “attitude of gratitude.” Many times we are inclined to take too much credit for our successes in life and too little blame for our failures. The best antidote I have discovered for the hubris of our sense of self-importance is to set aside time to compile a list of the gifts we have received from God.

The Gift of Life: Life is a gift from God. None of us did anything to deserve being born. Spend a few moments being thankful for still being alive. My younger brother, Mike, died at the age of 56. He was a delightful human being, a loving husband, father, teacher, coach and friend. He died too young. His family and my brothers and I could focus on what was taken from us or focus on the gift of having him in our lives for whatever part of his 56 years we shared. Life is a gift and we need to live each day thanking God for it.

The Gift of Family: Just as we did nothing to deserve being born, we did nothing to deserve the parents and siblings we were given. Sometimes it takes time to fully appreciate the gift of family. There were times when I would have traded in my parents for another set that would have met my perceived needs of the moment. Fortunately, I have lived long enough to realize that they were the best parents for me. My older brother has expressed it this way, “Our father demanded perfection and our mother convinced us that we could live up to his expectation.” Once we embrace family as gift, it is amazing how the things that could drive us apart lose their power.

The Gift of Education: I have never met anyone who did not have a story about a teacher who changed her or his life. I have my list of such teachers; I’m sure you have yours. Education has changed our worldview and our self-understanding. We have learned from coaches, scout leaders, neighbors, relatives and friends. All learning is a gift from God. We need to be more thankful for the gift of our education.

The Gift of Vocation: Nothing in life is as important as discovering what God wants us to do with our lives. I truly believe that God wanted me to be a priest. Many people seem to get lost in their search to discover who and what God wants them to be but the happiest and most fulfilled people I know are those who are doing what they love and love what they are doing. The Gift of Friends: Let us say together, “We do not deserve the friends we have!”

The gift of friendship is so precious. Our friends love us not in spite of our faults but because of them. Friends encourage us to grow and take risks. Friends teach us that time is a gift when they chose to share time with us. Most important of all, our friends see our gifts and talents before we do and they lovingly encourage us to recognize and develop our hidden gifts.

The above list of gifts is not meant to be exhaustive; it is offered as an outline. I hope you will use it to create your own list of gifts. Unless we make ourselves aware of the many gifts God has sown in our lives we will never develop the “attitude of gratitude” that is essential for the spirituality of stewardship to take root in our lives.

Readings for March 12/13, 2022

In today’s second reading we learn that one of Saint Paul’s principles of Christian living is to watch and imitate other followers of Christ. There is a pattern for Christian living that Saint Paul wants others to discover and then imitate. This pattern includes a life of prayer, selflessness, sacrifice, and caring for others, including our family of faith. Good stewards choose their friends wisely. They cultivate friendships with other Christian stewards, spend time with them, observe how they live, ask questions about their faith and learn from them. Who are your friends? Are they good stewards of their faith? Are they those who can help you on your own journey of faith?

St. Mary Star of the Sea Elementary and Preschool Enrollment

Come see how a Catholic education at St. Mary, Star of the Sea School can make a difference for your child and family!

St. Mary, Star of the Sea Elementary and Middle School is currently enrolling students in our Kindergarten through Eighth Grade for the 2022-23 school year.

St. Mary’s offers an affordable educational experience where we nurture the spiritual, physical, emotional, moral, and intellectual development necessary for your children to reach the fullness of their God-given potential. In addition to core subjects, we offer physical education, technology, music, art, and advanced mathematics—all taught in a fully Catholic environment.

Please call 760.722.7259 or email dshapiro@stmarystars.com to set up an appointment to visit our campus for a tour and meet our caring professional staff. For Preschool enrollment, please call 760.722.7475.

St. Mary Star of the Sea School

 

A STEWARDSHIP PRAYER IN TIME OF CRISIS

God of love and mercy, we are living under the cross of your Son in an unexpected and unwelcome way. We feel the gripping power of fear, anxiety, powerlessness and dread. We face the cross with a fearful heart. Send your Spirit down upon us to give us wisdom and courage, to console us and give us peace. One with you and your Son, the Spirit is the giver of life who can guide us through the storms and comfort us in our pain and discouragement. Through your Spirit, transform our weakness into strength and breathe confidence into us, so that our stewardship of the Gospel will give us a new boldness to proclaim the hope of your cross and the joy of Easter morning. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Saint Joseph

Next to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph is the most honored saint in the Catholic Church for being the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. His traditional feast day is March 19. Joseph’s life is depicted in the gospels, particularly in Matthew and Luke. He was born in Bethlehem and is described as being a descendant of King David. Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but was pregnant with the Christ child before Joseph took her into his home. According to Jewish law at the time, Mary could have been stoned to death if she was believed to have been unfaithful to her betrothed. An angel of the Lord told Joseph to take Mary into his home, that the child was conceived through the Holy Spirit, and that his name would be Jesus. After Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem, in yet another dream, Joseph was told to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt and remain there until Herod’s slaughter of newborns had come to an end with Herod’s own death. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to the region of Galilee and settled in Nazareth where Joseph taught his craft of carpentry to Jesus. Joseph is last mentioned in the Gospels when, on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he and Mary frantically searched for the lost Jesus in Jerusalem, and found him in the Temple (Luke 2:42–52).

Saint Joseph was declared patron saint and protector of the universal Church by Pope Pius IX at the close of the First Vatican Council in 1870. He is also considered a spiritual model for families and Christian teaching frequently stresses his patience, persistence, and hard work as admirable qualities Christians should reflect upon and embrace.

He is the patron saint of fathers, foster fathers, husbands, the unborn, working people in general and social justice. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of several countries including Canada, China, Korea, Mexico and Peru. Many cities, towns, and other locations are named after Saint Joseph as well; and it has been noted that the Spanish form of Saint Joseph, San Jose, is the most common place name in the world.

 

Mass will be offered this Saturday at 7 a.m. in honor of St. Joseph.

 

PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH FOR WORKERS

Joseph, by the work of your hands and the sweat of your brow,
you supported Jesus and Mary,
and had the Son of God as your fellow worker.

Teach me to work as you did, with patience and perseverance,

for God and for those whom God has given me to support.
Teach me to see in my fellow workers the Christ who desires to be in them,
that I may always be charitable and forbearing towards all.

Grant me to look upon work with the eyes of faith,
so that I shall recognize in it my share in God’s own creative activity
and in Christ’s work of our redemption, and so take pride in it.

When it is pleasant and productive, remind me to give thanks to God for it.
And when it is burdensome, teach me to offer it to God,
in reparation for my sins and the sins of the world. Amen.